Sick day

It has been so long since I suffered the commonality of a cold that I had forgotten its enfeebling persuasion. But today after having spent the past several days pretending I had overcome the initial clues I succumbed to defeat. My capitulation began unconventionally this morning when – after having languidly arisen from the lair at ten o’clock – I took more pain killers and cough medicine and then unhesitatingly returned to the folds of the duvet. It was not until noon that I re-awoke from my analgesic reverie and at last commenced the usual ablutions and got something to eat. Significantly my diminished behaviour was without regret. I actually congratulated myself for having listened to nature’s signals for inactivity – though admittedly not without a measure of regret at having missed three hours of the day!

Not everyone deals with illness with the same indignity as do I. My erstwhile acquaintance and sometimes swami L. C. Audette, QC, OC had the veneer at least of crawling before a worthy adversary. Were I for example to have telephoned him with an invitation to dinner – a latitude he notoriously embraced with gusto (though no doubt motivated less by the hors d’oeuvres and more by the prospect of a whiskey highball) – his succinct address if he were ill would have been, “I’ve got the grippe!” Similarly once he had revived himself days later he invariably had the courtesy to return the social favour by calling me and reciprocating the invitation, normally beginning with the observation, “I’m fed up with myself!” which was a record of his confinement to the sick bed and his own muted drawing room.

Audette recognized the inutility of competing with greater forces. And why not! Some things don’t merit either the rank or satisfaction of conflict. This I regret to say was at the heart of my own misguided conduct under similar circumstances; I simply hadn’t the taste for resignation under even the most adverse peril. Audette on the other hand succeeded to rephrase observable defeat into cause not for self-criticism but discernible distaste or displeasure. He strengthened his cause by nobly aspiring to the elevation of humanity by refusing to make himself taller by standing on a subaltern. This was in some respects a calculated deference because he at least had the advantage of characterizing his opposition as beneath him for other reasons. As proof of his predisposition in this regard he would never shy from slapping an equal on the cheek! From that too he arguably garnered the cosmetic of not merely equitability but more importantly congruence.

Forgive me, I elaborate beyond the scope of ephemeral illness. But you no doubt catch my drift. There is a lesson in the most inconsequential substance upon close examination! In matters of the common cold – or perhaps the more affective details of social conduct or politics – we can extrapolate any number of directives. As always the overriding relief is the admission not the contradiction of fact! It is no insult to fare less favourably than another. Normally the singularity is reserved for one or few traits; whereas in others there similarly rests different robustness and talents.